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5 days average sick per private sector full time worker…

The Times reported today that EU officials are three times ‘sicker’ than the average British private sector workers, who took 5 days of on average last year, with public sector workers taking on average 8.7 days (latest available data).

It may be a controversial view, but here it comes anyway, most short term absence is unnecessary – the employee doesn’t need to be off, they choose to be off, and the more the persistent absentee gets away with it, the more absence they will have – the average of 15 days for EU commissioners includes those who attend normally, there will be some serial absentees in there.

Abnormally high absence stems from:

  • Lack of management confidence, ability or motivation to deal with the problem; and/or
  • No financial loss for the employee – who is paid normally for their absence
  • No consequence – absence histories are rarely investigated and penalties rarely, if ever, imposed

In all businesses absence, particularly short term unexpected absence, is disruptive. A few simple steps can go a long way to eradicate it:

  • Ensure employment contracts cover sickness, particularly in terms of reporting and medical information disclosure
  • If you choose to pay discretionary sick pay, make sure each case is considered before authorising payment
  • If possible ensure sick pay is discretionary and non-contractual

We provide a range of services for smaller employers, from inexpensive on-line & email support services to premium plus support which comes with the uncapped advice and a personal HR advisor. With our systems partner CIPHR, we are happy to quote for full outsource services too to replace or supplement larger companies’ existing HR and employment legal capability.

We can also quote for one off fixed price support if you need to deal with a particular issue or you just want to review your employment contract. Call us on 01628 820515 to discuss your requirements or email us.

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